May 2012


Wildlife Sightings

Sightings Archive

2012 Year List

 Day by Day

Early & Late Dates

Record Counts 

Report sightings




Wednesday/Thursday 30th/31st:


No news was received.



Tuesday 29th:


A Tawny Owl by the First Pond was the highlight with other records including a Cuckoo on Warren Point and 12 Sanderling, nine Dunlin and four Ringed Plover.



Monday 28th:


Wader numbers over high tide remained static with 19 Sanderling, 13 Ringed Plover and 10 Dunlin. Elsewhere two Sandwich and a Common Tern were offshore, three Buzzard were overhead and breeding records included three Little Grebe chicks on the Main Pond with two of the three Great-spotted Woodpecker chicks having fledged.



Sunday 27th:


The most unexpected record was an Avocet in the estuary briefly early morning, only the second May record for site, four Red Kite which circled over the estuary before flying west are now more expected.  Elsewhere single Arctic and Great Skua were offshore early morning, a Great Northern Diver flew south, five Common Tern were in the estuary and waders included 17 Dunlin, 12 Sanderling, nine Ringed Plover and a Turnstone.



Saturday 26th:


Two Arctic Skua along the Dune Ridge and then north up the estuary were the highlight, no doubt pushed in by the strong easterlies, on an otherwise hot summer like day. Elsewhere a slight increase in wader numbers saw 34 Sanderling, five Ringed Plover, three Dunlin, three Turnstone and three summer-plumaged Knot over high tide, with an overhead passage of 42 House Martin, 41 Swallow, 36 Swift and eight Jackdaw.


Kestrel 26/05/12 © Lee Collins



Friday 25th:


Almost a repeat of previous days with a local scarcity and declining wader numbers. A Mistle Thrush on Warren Point was the first of the year fro what is usually just an autumn migrant on site. Elsewhere a pair of Gadwall and a Common Tern were offshore, 39 Swallow, three House and a Sand Martin, four Jackdaw and two Rook flew over and a Cuckoo was along the Dune Ridge. Wader counts were limited to 17 Dunlin, 13 Ringed Plover, five Sanderling and two Whimbrel.



Thursday 24th:


A Coal Tit along the Dune Ridge was unseasonal, but apart from that and another Collared Dove heading north there was little to report. Wader numbers dropped with 32 Dunlin, 21 Sanderling and a single Whimbrel. The pair of Great-spotted Woodpecker are actively feeding young in the nest, the first breeding record for the recording area.


Great-spotted Woodpecker 24/05/12 © Lee Collins



Wednesday 23rd:


A quiet midsummer feel to proceedings. Wader counts included 245+ Oystercatcher, 64 Dunlin, 30+ Sanderling and seven Whimbrel with nine Sandwich Tern offshore. Four Rook by the hide was the only other noteworthy record.



Tuesday 22nd:


A single Roseate Tern remained offshore with six Common and 20+ Sandwich Tern. Waders declined to 58 Dunlin, 45+ Sanderling, four Ringed Plover, four Whimbrel and a Turnstone. Migrants included single Wheatear and Willow Warbler with the highlight again overhead, a Red Kite heading east late morning. Full details from the colour ringed Sanderling first seen on Saturday are below.



As with all Sanderling this is a well travelled bird, however the sequence of records of this individual is simply incredible.

  • This bird was rung on 7 October 2008 near Asenko village, Ghana, It was then seen there again on 3 February 2009 & 26 March 2009. (A)

  • The next sighting was on return passage at La Moreliére, Saint Denis d'Oleron in western France on 9-10 August 2009. (B)

  • It returned to the Asenko area in Ghana being seen on 9 November 2009 and 6 February 2010. (A)

  • The next sighting was south of the equator at Walvis Bay, Namibia on 17 February 2010.(C)

  • It was then recorded on spring passage at Balranald, North Uist in the Outer Hebrides on 30 May 2010 (D)

  • It was recorded on autumn passage in western France on 24 July 2010 and again on 13 August 2011 (B) before the latest sighting at the Warren on 19-21 May 2012 (E)

    Many thanks to Jeroen Reneerkens for these details. For more information on this project visit





Monday 21st:


A Glossy Ibis over mid morning before drifting high N was the highlight, only the second site record following the first in February this year. It circled momentarily over Starcross before heading back to Exminster were it had been seen earlier. This record was however eclipsed by three White Stork that circled high offshore before heading SE early evening, also the second site record but the first since 1980. Elsewhere a single Roseate Tern remained offshore with 28 Common and eight Sandwich Tern, also present a first summer Mediterranean Gull. Wader counts included 111 Dunlin, 69 Sanderling, eight Ringed Plover, eight Whimbrel and five Turnstone. Migrants included a Cuckoo, a single Wheatear and overhead an Osprey, a Yellow Wagtail, a Siskin, four Collared Dove, 60 Swallow and 12 House Martin.


White Stork 21/05/12 © Jeannette and Philip Rutter



Sunday 20th:


A single Roseate Tern remained offshore with 44 Common, a Little and eight Sandwich Tern, also present a first summer Little Gull in the evening, two Great Northern Diver, c45 Common Scoter, four Gadwall, a Tufted Duck, an Arctic Skua and 14 Great-crested Grebe.  Wader counts included 129 Dunlin,108 Sanderling,10 Ringed Plover, five Whimbrel and two Bar-tailed Godwit, also in the estuary two Greylag Geese briefly in the Bight before heading south. Elsewhere two Greenland Wheatear were on site and overhead there were 12 Jackdaw, three Rook, two Collared Dove, 107 Swallow, four House and four Sand Martin.



Saturday 19th:


The long overdue first Roseate Tern of the year turned up, the latest arrival since 1997. One bird was offshore early morning with four Common Tern, later two were present with 48 Common Tern, the first decent count of the spring. Also offshore a Great Northern Diver, 37 Common Scoter, 36 Manx Shearwater, 25 Sandwich Tern and 18 Great-crested Grebe. Overhead the highlight was a loose flock of six Red Kite that headed west over the estuary before 11am, the highest site count. Elsewhere wader counts included 88 Sanderling, 80 Dunlin, 10 Turnstone, nine Whimbrel, three Bar-tailed Godwit, seven Ringed and a Grey Plover.


Sanderling 19/05/12 © Lee Collins



Friday 18th:


Wader counts included 64 Dunlin, 32 Sanderling, 10 Whimbrel and three Ringed Plover. Elsewhere six Great-crested Grebe and two Sandwich Tern were offshore and migrants included a Garden Warbler and a flyover Yellow Wagtail.



Thursday 17th:


No news was received.



Wednesday 16th:


High tide saw 65 Sanderling, eight Whimbrel, seven Dunlin, six Turnstone and three Ringed Plover on the beach. Elsewhere four Great-crested Grebe but no terns were offshore and two Moorhen chicks were on the Main Pond.



Tuesday 15th:


Waders included 25 Sanderling and 21 Whimbrel with other records limited to two Sandwich Tern and the Slavonian Grebe in the estuary.



Monday 14th:


Wader numbers included 42 Dunlin, three Bar-tailed Godwit, two Ringed Plover and two Whimbrel. Elsewhere a Sedge Warbler was singing by the Crocus Compound and 10 Sandwich Tern were offshore. News has been received about three colour-ringed Bar-tailed Godwit seen earlier in the month; all were rung on passage in Holland either at Terschelling or Texel. Other sightings have all been in Holland on spring and autumn passage.



Sunday 13th:


Migrants were limited to a Sedge Warbler in Dead Dolphin Wood, a grey Willow Warbler on Warren Pont, at least four Wheatear and a continuing trickle of 121 Swallow during the day with four House and a Sand Martin. Elsewhere 17 Great-crested Grebe and nine Sandwich Tern were offshore, a first-summer Mediterranean Gull flew in off and waders were limited to two Dunlin, two Sanderling and two Whimbrel.


Whitethroat 12/05/12 © Dave Jewell



Saturday 12th:


Another quiet spring day but a steady trickle of Swallow heading east numbered 224 by early afternoon along with c15 House and a Sand Martin, the only other migrants were 12 Wheatear. Elsewhere the first fledged Starling of the year were in Greenland Lake, wader counts were limited to 11 Dunlin, eight Sanderling, seven Whimbrel, three Knot and three Ringed Plover with six Sandwich Tern and four Common Scoter offshore and a drake Tufted Duck south.



Friday 11th:


Just four Sandwich Tern were offshore with a Great Northern Diver, four Common Scoter, a Great-crested Grebe and 15 Gannet. Elsewhere a second summer Iceland Gull settled briefly in front of the hide, 25 Sanderling, three Ringed Plover and two Dunlin were feeding on Warren Point and a Cuckoo flew through Greenland Lake.


Iceland Gull 11/05/12 © Dave Jewell



Thursday 10th:


The overnight rain dropped another small wave of migrants with at least six Spotted Flycatcher on site, the first of the year, also present a Lesser Whitethroat, four Wheatear and three Willow Warbler. Elsewhere three Great Northern Diver, an Arctic Skua, 11 Sandwich and a Common Tern were offshore; 55 Swallow, 50 Swift and a Sand Martin flew through and waders included 63 Whimbrel, c35 Dunlin, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit,  20 Sanderling, eight Turnstone, six Ringed Plover, six Knot and a Curlew.



Wednesday 9th:


Wader passage picked up with counts of 488 Oystercatcher, 125 Dunlin, 71 Whimbrel, 12 Sanderling, 11 Ringed Plover, seven Bar-tailed Godwit, six Turnstone and a Grey Plover. Elsewhere a Red-throated Diver and just four Sandwich Tern were offshore and a Wheatear was on the golf course.



Tuesday 8th:


A much quieter day with migrants virtually limited to Warren Point where there were two Wheatear, a Whinchat and a Sedge Warbler, the other migrant was a third Wheatear in Greenland Lake, Elsewhere a pair of Gadwall flew in off the sea, 18 Sandwich Tern were offshore and wader numbers were limited to 30 Whimbrel, 15 Turnstone, 15 Sanderling, six Dunlin, two Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Common Sandpiper.



Monday 7th:


The highlight was a male Golden Oriole calling briefly in Dead Dolphin Wood before flying off over the Golf Course, the first site record, it was found whilst watching a female Nightjar roosting in the wood, itself only the 14th site record and the first since 2008. Other migrants were however thin on the ground with a Tree Pipit overhead and single Cuckoo, Wheatear, Sedge and Garden Warbler on site. Seawatching gave a new site record of 14 Pomarine Skua, including a flock of 12 that remained offshore for over an hour, four Great Skua, four Eider, 28 Manx Shearwater, three Red-breasted Merganser, two first summer Mediterranean Gull,  40+ Sandwich and seven Arctic Tern. Elsewhere the second summer Iceland Gull was feeding on the beach and wader counts included c80 Whimbrel, 23 Bar and a Black-tailed Godwit, 38 Sanderling, four Knot and three Grey Plover.


Nightjar 07/05/12 © Lee Collins



Sunday 6th:


Wader numbers in the estuary included 42+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 30+ Whimbrel, c30 Dunlin, three Sanderling, three Knot, a Grey Plover and a Common Sandpiper. Offshore the second summer Iceland Gull was with large numbers of Herring Gull, eight Tufted Duck flew south out of the estuary and a Great Northern Diver flew south but there were only 10 Sandwich Tern present, in what so far is a poor tern year. Elsewhere a Yellow Wagtail and a late Siskin flew over along with 29 Swallow, eight House Martin and three Swift, grounded migrants included 16 Whitethroat, a Cuckoo and a Wheatear.


Bar-tailed Godwit 06/05/12 © Lee Collins



Saturday 5th:


An excellent spring day on site with the highlight being the third site record of Red-rumped Swallow which flew east along the Dune Ridge at 10.35, other hirundine passage was restricted to just 28 Swallow, seven House and four Sand Martin, also overhead the first Hobby and Golden Plover of the year. In the estuary the first Curlew Sandpiper of the year, a winter plumaged individual, was with 253+ Dunlin, c70 Whimbrel, 53 Ringed Plover, 33 Sanderling, 10 Grey Plover, eight Bar-tailed Godwit and three Knot, with a second summer Iceland Gull on the sandbars. Elsewhere at least one Tree Pipit was on Warren Point, with a Little Tern, four Eider and presumably the same Iceland Gull offshore.



Cuckoo (at Brown-tail moth web) 05/05/12 © Lee Collins



Friday 4th:


The first Lesser Whitethroat of the year arrived with two around the Entrance Bushes, other migrants on site included 17 Wheatear, three Garden Warbler, two Sedge Warbler and a Cuckoo. Overhead there were 103 Swallow, 80 House Martin, 31 Swift, 16 Sand Martin and two Rook. Elsewhere 215 Dunlin, 58 Ringed Plover, 30+ Sanderling, 25+ Whimbrel, seven Knot, seven Grey Plover and three Bar-tailed Godwit were in the estuary and a drake Gadwall flew in off the sea.



Thursday 3rd:


Wader migration picked up today with birds arriving through the day and counts doubling for many species between the two tides. Counts included 220+ Dunlin, 82 Sanderling, 75+ Whimbrel, 50+ Ringed Plover, 15 Bar-tailed Godwit (including a colour-ringed bird), 14 Turnstone, 10 Knot, six Grey Plover and two Common Sandpiper. Other migrants included an unseasonal Short-eared Owl  on Warren Point, the first of the year, a Grasshopper Warbler and 10 Wheatear were also there with 15 Whitethroat and five Reed Warbler around site. Elsewhere a second summer Iceland Gull and the Slavonian Grebe were in the estuary.



Wednesday 2nd:


Migration was again in evidence today but mostly overhead with the first Tree Pipit of the year along with five Yellow Wagtail, 505 Swallow, 287 House Martin, 112 Swift, 89 Goldfinch, 12 Sand Martin, two Rook, two Siskin and singles of Chaffinch and Lesser Redpoll. Elsewhere nine Whitethroat, three Wheatear and two Sedge Warbler were on site, 13 Pale-bellied Brent and the second summer Iceland Gull were in the estuary and offshore there were four Eider and two Great Northern Diver.



Tuesday 1st:


The spring fall witnessed elsewhere was hardly apparent on site, two Garden Warbler were the first of the year but the only other migrants were 25 Blackcap, nine Willow Warbler, eight Chiffchaff, three Whitethroat and a Sedge Warbler. The other first for the year was more unexpected, a Barnacle Goose in with a flock of c130 Pale-bellied and eight Dark-bellied Brent Geese, the flock being seen earlier off Portland. Elsewhere five Common Sandpiper were in the estuary.




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